Our Core Values are relevant to our constituency because they express what attitudes, outlooks, and philosophical parameters we apply in conducting the business of a community college and what people can expect from us when we conduct this business. The reciprocal relationship between what we believe and what our community can expect is expressed in all of our Core Values, but particularly well in the value of responsibility.
The word "responsibility" has its roots in the Latin respondere, which means "to promise in return." Illinois Central College, like all community colleges, exists as a promise to our community in return for the support we receive.
Because responsibility has both a give and a take side, we evaluate what we do in two different ways. Like the Roman god Janus, our approach has two perspectives—one toward the past and what we’ve done, and one toward the future and what we should do.
The first side of responsibility (the looking back side) requires us to look at our programs, services, and capabilities and ask ourselves, "Have we kept our promise to deliver on our mission to our community?" This side of responsibility requires strong assessment of who we are and what we do.
We review our financial health, our course offerings, our transfer agreements to four-year institutions, our enrollments, our strategic objectives, and many other factors to see if we have met our obligation to the community. This type of responsibility also is known as accountability. In its most basic form, carrying out this side of responsibility means we do what we say we will—and do it well.
The second side of responsibility (the looking forward side) really is better described as response ability. It deals with our own readiness and ability to meet the specific needs of our community.
Unlike four-year sister institutions who recruit people well beyond local confines, we are intensely focused on the people, businesses, and industries in our district.
We are here to first make our local community a better place and, in doing so, enrich our state, nation and world. To do this, we must find ways to keep current on what our community needs. We must be as nimble as possible in finding answers to our community’s questions, creating solutions to our community’s problems, and making sure we continually improve.
ICC has a good track record in meeting both sides of responsibility. For example, when we heard our transfer students would benefit from additional advisement and social interaction in transferring to four-year schools, we created the QUEST program.
As businesses told us they needed more and more computer training, we increased the offerings of our Professional Development Institute, including a computer-training program where we literally take the computers to the business. Our partnership with local industry resulted in programs to meet the growing local needs for highly trained technicians. And when working people wanted to develop management skills, but couldn’t attend traditional school, we created FasTrack to accelerate their learning by creating an intense curriculum that allows students to achieve a degree in about two and a half years. Yet we know this is not enough.
As new and emerging local needs develop, we need to continue to creatively find solutions in an even shorter timeframe. And that means we need, expect, and invite input from the members of our community.
For us, participation and linkage to our own backyard determines our strategic direction and success, and how well we deliver on "our promise in return." IBI